Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Cookbook: The Little Library Cookbook

"Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably."  
---C. S. Lewis

I love to read.

I love to cook.

The Little Library Cookbook: 100 Recipes from Your Favorite Books is a book that seems to have been written just for me. 

The 100 books include many books that are literally (sorry) my favorites, including The Secret Garden (porridge); Anne of Green Gables (vanilla layer cake); Excellent Women (chicken casserole); Moby Dick (clam chowder); Anna Karenina (chicken with tarragon); and Green Eggs and Ham (self-evident). 

I've had this book for three years and I've tried several recipes. 

Today, I've decided to make a recipe from the book our book club will be discussing (virtually) next week, The Book Thief. Of course, since we are in lock-down, I will have to make do with what I have on hand, so some substitutions will be in order.

Potato & Leek Soup with Rye Bread
from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

1 tsp. canola oil (I subbed olive oil)
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large leek, finely chopped (I subbed kale)
1 3/4 lbs. waxy potatoes, cut into 3/4" cubes
1 tsp. caraway seeds (I subbed sesame seeds)
2 bay leaves (no sub available)
Salt and pepper
1 3/4 pints vegetable stock

1. To make the soup, warm the oil over medium heat and then fry chopped onions until soft and translucent. Add the diced potatoes, caraway seeds, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Pour in stock.

2. Simmer soup for twenty minutes before removing bay leaves and attacking it with potato masher. You could also use a blender, but I doubt even the Holtzapfels would have had one, and I like the not-quite smooth texture.

3. Continue to simmer until it reaches a texture you want (it will thicken as the water evaporates. Serve with bread.

Rye Bread
Makes 1 large loaf

4 cups rye flour (I subbed reg. bread flour)
3 cups white bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 heaping T. fresh yeast
2 3/4 cups plus 2 T. lukewarm water
1 T. caraway seeds (I subbed toasted sesame seeds)

1. Pour the flours and salt into a mixing bowl and combine with your hand. Put the fresh yeast in a measuring cup and pour in the water. Mix with a fork. Leave the yeast until it is foaming slightly on top.

2. Pour the yeast into the flour mixture and combine with your hands. Add the caraway seeds, then knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Try not to add any more flour to the dough while you are kneading, but if it is unmanageably sticky, lightly flour your work surface and hands and then continue to knead. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm, draft-free place to rise until it has doubled in size.

3. After an hour or so, take the dough back out and flatten it. Reshape into a round loaf by stretching each edge out and then folding it back into the middle. Flip the loaf over so that the seam is underneath. Keep pulling the sides underneath the loaf with your palms to form a tight ball. Place the loaf on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with flour and place the tea towel back on top. Leave to proof until doubled in size. When the bread has risen most of the way, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

4. When the dough is ready, transfer the tray to the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F. and bake for another 35 minutes. The loaf should be brown on top and should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by A Web of Stories. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at A Web of Stories.

Weekend Cooking was begun by Beth Fish Reads and is now being hosted by Marg of The Intrepid Reader. It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. 


  1. This sounds like a fun read. I like the soup certainly.

  2. Substitutions seem very appropriate for that recipe.

  3. For some reason, the very first thought that came to my mind was that this book would make a great gift for book lovers! I might pick it up for myself since the recipes might be worth a try, especially if the book happens to be a favourite one. :) Thank you for sharing this recipe, Deb and for joining us this week.

    A happy #ww and a blessed week ahead.

  4. I cannot argue with your book or your pleasures. I tried making some cookies this morning but they were a bit of a failure.

  5. I love to read and to write, but cooking is another story, but I love to eat good things !

  6. This sounds marvelous! Is the clam chowder made with real chowder biscuits/crackers? lol There was a big to-do around 2000 when the Nabisco company quit making Pilot Chowder crackers! lol

  7. Yum!

    Yes, i love to eat, and to read, and i have to be careful when doing both.

  8. I'm drooling!
    And I love that quote by C.S. Lewis so much that just shared it on my book club group.

    We love leek and potato soup.
    The Rye bread looks delectable but I'm looking for some nice vegan/gluten free bread recipes. Any pointers?

    Thanks for this delicious post on #WW, Deb. Have a great week!

  9. This is certain the era of substitution, especially with the food shortages that pop up here and there (who knew yeast would be so hard to find? And, at one point, grapes were being rationed by the local supermarket - ????) Of course, rye bread without rye flour isn't rye bread, and sesame doesn't substitute for caraway, but - oh, who cares? The potato and leek soup sounds so good right about now.

  10. Mmmmm! I bet your kitchen is smelling wonderful!
    Thanks for lining up at

  11. Yummmm! I am drooling!

    Have a great weekend!

  12. Deb rightly said, its indeed a perfect book for people who love to read & cook

  13. Wow- the soup looks really good, but I am so impressed that you made rye bread!

  14. Off to borrow a copy now. Thanks!

  15. I love this kind of book. So much fun!

  16. I love cookbooks from novels, especially from detective series -- I have several, including cookbooks featuring Madame Maigret, Nancy Drew, Inspector Brunetti, and Nero Wolf. So this looks like fun.

    I made leek and potato soup a few days ago but I actually used leeks, and we have luckily been able to get rye flour from a bulk store that does curbside pickup. Many of my other recipes involved substitutions like yours -- such are the joys of not grocery shopping!

    be well... mae at

  17. What a cool book, I need to find that one. Haven't made rye bread in weeks. I have a scant amount of bread flour left so I am rationing.

    By the way, love your haircut. Mine has gotten so long during lockdown and I'm looking forward to a cut.

  18. I love The Book Thief! That sounds like a fun cookbook, too.

  19. I have a similar book that is called The Book Lover's Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen. Nan (Letters from a Hill Farm) gave it to me almost 20 years ago! I've tried a few of the recipes and now is a good time to get back to the book and try more!


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